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Tanzania in a Nutshell

Tanzania in a Nutshell
From wilderness safaris to trekking mountains in the southern highlands to snoozing on idyllic beaches, Tanzania tours provide the amateur and the experienced with holidays to remember.

Things to do in Tanzania

Main Attractions and Tourist Regions in Tanzania
Linked to the Masai Mara grasslands of Kenya, the Tanzanian Serengeti is the top spot in Africa for wildlife safaris, seeing African game in their unspoiled habitat and perching among some of the most beautiful and rare animals in the world. This vast park attracts visitors from all over the world and one sight that simply can’t be missed is the annual wildebeest migration, a wildlife seekers heaven.
Just the name Mt Kilimanjaro should be enough to entice any adventure traveler to Tanzania’s National park and to the peak of Africa. Tours to Mt Kilimanjaro offer unrivaled sights from the top of Africa’s highest and most recognized mountain. Due to the dense rainforest at the bottom of the mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro treks offer an African safari on top of just the splendor of the main climb.

Tanzanian safaris boast plenty of wild lions. Photo by Anita Ritenour
Ngorongoro Crater is widely considered as one of the most special African experiences. Its untainted landscape and rich wildlife offers arguably the best safari tour in Africa. With amazing animals ranging from Rhinos, elephants, lions and buffaloes plus many, many more, along with being introduced to local Masai Mara tribesmen, this scintillating tour is one reason why Tanzania is an African gem.
Ruaha National park is Tanzania’s second largest and also offers tremendous amounts of game.
Zanzibar Town is in a realm of its own and a whole new reason to visit Tanzania. It is a World Heritage Site for a reason. With its beautifully networked labyrinthine alleys, meandering below picturesque colonial architecture, the old quarter of Stone Town is a walking museum and is warrants an imperative visit on everybody’s list. Sitting quietly a few streets down you will stumble across exotic palm lined beaches and pristine blue waters. An incredible discovery for newcomers to Tanzania tours.

Tribal Tanzanian boy with eccentric head-wear. Photo by Andreas Roksvaag

So What’s Tanzania all about?

Food and Culture of Tanzania
Typically carbohydrate based, the cornmeal porridge called Ugali is a staple dish in the Tanzanian diet. Tanzanian food also boasts many luxurious spicy dishes, particularly around the coastal regions. A welcome addition to fish and rice meals is the common use of coconut milk, providing sensuous flavors.
Tanzanian food also consists of a lot of beans, sorghum, millet and plantain. Groundnuts are an important part of the diet in Tanzania too.
With 128 languages spoken throughout Tanzania and many tribes, it is wonderful to get lost in and absorb the diversity of Tanzanian culture. Enjoy the splendid and meticulous arts and crafts and marvel at the array of glamorous clothing within tribes.

When to go to Tanzania

What time of the year is best to visit Tanzania?
January and February are widely considered as the best months to visit Tanzania due to being the start of the dry season. Similarly, June through to October are just as spectacular to travel to Tanzania. Off months are March-April and November-December.

Safari on Any Budget

Safari on Any Budget
There is no denying that Africa can be a very expensive travel destination. There are many amazing luxury and comfort tours that can give you an unforgettable, high-class experience. However, you may not know that there are also budget-friendly trips targeted at young travellers looking for an adventure. Sure, your money doesn’t stretch as far as it would in South-East Asia or South America, but it’s worth it for the trip of a lifetime–which you’ll realize the first time you see a majestic elephant from as close as 15 feet away. So, my advice for young, budget travellers is to see Africa by going on an overland trip or joining a group for camping safari adventure.
This involves travelling in a large overlanding truck and staying in national parks through participation camping, which requires putting up your own tent and helping out with food preparation using the truck’s mobile kitchen.

Gombe Stream National Park

Gombe Stream National Park is the smallest of Tanzania’s national parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that them in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Its chimpanzees, habituated to human visitors, were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall, who in 1960 founded a behavioral research program that now stands as the longest-running study of its kind in the world.

Size : 52 sq km (20 sq miles).

Location: 16 km (10 miles) north of Kigoma on the shore of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania.

Chimpanzees share about 98% of their genes with humans, and no scientific expertise is required to distinguish between the individual repertoires of pants, hoots and screams that define the celebrities, the powerbrokers, and the supporting characters. Perhaps you will see a flicker of understanding when you look into a chimp’s eyes, assessing you in return – a look of apparent recognition across the narrowest of species barriers.

The most visible of Gombe’s other mammals are also primates. A troop of beachcomber olive baboons, under study since the 1960s, is exceptionally habituated, while red-tailed and red colobus monkeys – the latter regularly hunted by chimps – stick to the forest canopy.

The park’s 200-odd bird species range from the iconic fish eagle to the jewel-like Peter’s twinspots that hop tamely around the visitors’ centre.

After dusk, a dazzling night sky is complemented by the lanterns of hundreds of small wooden boats, bobbing on the lake like a sprawling city.

Top 10 Things to do in Tanzania

Top 10 Things to do in Tanzania

Tanzania contains a beautiful microcosm of African life, a thriving and flourishing nation that serves up the greatest adventure dishes in the world.

African safaris are the main attraction but once you have had enough game time, the tours certainly aren’t over there. With an abundance of exotic beaches, stunning colonial towns and prodigious mountains to trek, Tanzania offers an eclectic array of wonderful holiday activities.
This definitive list is set up to give you an insight into the top 10 things to do in Tanzania

10. Pemba

Still Somewhat undiscovered, Pemba provides an off-the-beaten-track island destination for tourists. With few beaches and a hilly terrain, this island is the perfect spot to release your inner explorer.

Pemba offers an alternative to the usual idyllic island life. Photo by LC Seiler
Pemba is still relatively untouched compared to its neighbor, Zanzibar, however this considerably hilly island has some very unique attraction. Perfect for the explore, Pemba has lush vegetation and monumental hillside cliffs that overhang beautiful coves and bays.
There are some idyllic offshore islets that offer a chance to gain a fantastic diving experience and the few beach stretches that there are, are well worth a visit.
Also popular in Pemba is its voodoo presence and traditional healing processes, a feature that attracts people from all over Africa.
Get lost by yourself and experience the true charms of visiting a more untouched island.

9. Arusha National Park

Although relatively small, this national park comprises excellent landscapes with varied and spectacular views. amazing backdrops and eclectic wildlife, Arusha National Park shouldn’t be missed.

Zebra spotting isn’t a hard task in the Arusha National Park. Photo by Kyle Taylor.
In addition to Arusha National Park providing great wildlife and game viewing, it is covers Mt.Meru, Africa’s 5th highest mountain peak that offers scintillating views of its nearby cousin, Mt Kilimanjaro.
On your ascent up Mt.Meru observe and study the rich wealth of flowers and shrubbery along with the frequent encounters with beautiful rare animals.

8. Gombe National Park

A beautiful facade of bamboo and rain forest, Gombe National Park, although Tanzania’s smallest, is famous for the behavioral study of chimpanzees.

Visit the tremendous chimpanzees in Gombe National Park. Photo by Afrika Force.
Its diverse inhabitants and wildlife, including chimps, baboons, red-tailed monkeys, snakes, bush pigs, hundreds of rare birds make Gombe National Park an increasingly popular attraction. Be sure to keep your eye open for the occasional sighting of hippos and leopards too.
Visitors can trek through the dense rain forest and head towards the lake to see even more rare animals by snorkeling with the beautiful aquatic life of the park.

7. Tarangire National Park

With a huge number of elephants and a great display of wildlife, it is no wonder Tarangire National Park draws in so many visitors.

Elephants can’t help but look adorable. Photo by Lindsay Maizland.
The residents of Tarangire National Park are all so venerated in the safari realm that it makes this park simply unmissable. From the tree climbing lions to the gargantuan elephants, Tarangire tours are a dream for animal lovers. Bird enthusiasts should also make the trip considering the rich array of colorful bird life within the park.

6. Lake Manyara National Park

Offering a microcosm of the African safari experience, Lake Manyara National Park contains a densely populated animal life amongst the scenic beauty of the lake and the landscape.

A diverse selection of wild animals intermingle by the lakeside of Manyara. Photo by Prasad Pillai.
Experience the authentic African experience as crowds of animals gather around the oasis of Lake Manyara, the vast lake in the Manyara park where beautiful rare animals coexist relish in the parks surroundings.
See the pink facade of flamingos as they seek refuge in the inviting lake and then head off to the canopy trail to view the extensive amount of lush jungle, dominant rain forest trees and frenetic tree-top life.

5. Zanzibar Town

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Zanzibar Town is simply the perfect island getaway, boasting charming colonial streets and luxurious golden beaches. Tanzania tours just got better!

Zanzibar Town is romantic and stunning, with incredible beaches. Photo by Kyle Taylor.
Zanzibar Town epitomizes the contradictions in Africa. Whilst most people are out in the arid grasslands searching for the big 5, a trip to Zanzibar Town will reawaken your romantic instincts and make you walk the dreamy streets endlessly before hitting the glorious beaches for a spot of sun and a refreshing snorkel.
A truly charming colonial town, Zanzibar is top priority on a lot of peoples  Tanzania list.

4. Mahale Mountains National Park

With access to a nearby beach and lush green forestry, this (predominantly) chimpanzee park offers a true Tanzanian adventure.

Warthogs are among just some of the amazing animals on view. Photo by Nils Rinaldi
Mahale Mountains National Park is a beautiful park with varying landscapes, features and wild animals. Although set-up to preserve the incredible chimpanzees, it also draws in bird lovers, beach goers, forest trekkers and genuine  park lovers.
The chain of picturesque mountains and the therapeutic lake make for a romantic sunset stroll.

3. Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater is widely considered as one of the most special African experiences. Saturated with fascinating wild animals and a truly unique landscape, the crater offers wonderful safari tours.

The Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, is a truly remarkable experience. Photo by Nat Friedman
 Ngorongoro Crater‘s untainted scenery and wealth of wildlife contains arguably the best safari tour in Africa. With amazing animals ranging from Rhinos, elephants, lions and buffaloes plus many, many more, along with being introduced to local Masai Mara tribesmen, this scintillating tour is one reason why Tanzania is an African gem.

2. Mt. Kilimanjaro

People dream of reaching the peak of Africa. Tanzania tours with allow you to reach that goal and hike one of the most beautiful and challenging mountains in the world.

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro offers rewarding views. Photo by Demetrius John Kessy
Mt Kilimanjaro has been challenging and rewarding people for hundreds of years. The unrivaled views and the vast beauty don’t just arrive at the peak, the whole ascent and descent are filled with perfect scenery, ranging from lush vegetation to shimmering glaciers.

1. Serengeti National Park

The Creme de la creme of African safaris, the Serengeti National Park is Africa’s largest and most famous safari park and a chance to get up close and personal with some of the worlds greatest animals.

A tour of the Serengeti will introduce to some amazing animals. Photo by William Warby.
The annual wildebeest migration is just one thing that attracts millions of visitors year round to the Serengeti National Park. Tours of this park off vital opportunities to observe the top 5 in their natural habitat and gaze at an endless spectacular spectacle.
Linked to the Masai Mara of Kenya, you must allocate a lot of time to experience and appreciate all that this vast safari park has to offer.
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Tanzania can be hard to get around, in which case I love using this triposo travel app, the perfect tool for not missing a beat when I’m traveling – “delivering up-to-date information, detailed maps and intelligent recommendations.”
That was a lot to take in, and there are even more great sights that Tanzania has to offer. Write in the comments section below your great experiences of Tanzania and the sights that you think should make the top 10…
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No cancellation fees for Ebola

No cancellation fees for Ebola

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been in the news a lot lately and has understandably caused some concern among travellers who are considering or have booked a trip to Africa. We want to first of all put your mind at ease. As we explained in our previous blogs, the media has greatly hyped up people’s fears and exaggerated the risk of Ebola. We put things in perspective in these blog posts, and below you will find another short summary regarding why it is completely safe to travel to Tanzania or Kenya  and even book a trip for any time in the future without any worries about Ebola.

We are so confident that there will be no Ebola outbreak in Tanzania or Kenya that we are prepared to amend our standard terms and conditions to offer a guaranteed 100% refund to all clients who have booked with us in advance, and end up having to cancel or postpone in the unlikely event that the Ebola outbreak spreads to Tanzania or Kenya .

This amended cancellation policy will apply to any new or existing bookings if the sole reason for cancellation or postponement is an Ebola outbreak, which we define as follows:

An Ebola outbreak must be called and confirmed by the WHO. It is not one or two isolated, imported cases of Ebola from people arriving from affected areas, and merely being treated or quarantined locally. An Ebola outbreak is when there are multiple (two or more) confirmed cases of NEW INFECTIONS that have occurred WITHIN Tanzania or Kenya  (or any adjacent destination on your itinerary booked through us), excluding direct family members or health care workers who have had direct contact with isolated Ebola victims, where the spread of the virus remains contained within the treatment facility and does not affect the general public.

(It is important to stress that many countries including the US have already had one or two isolated cases of imported Ebola victims being treated, and in some cases infection has spread to direct family members or health care workers who have had careless, close personal contact with the victim. In none of these cases has this resulted in an Ebola outbreak amongst the general public. In the recent American case, all 48 people who had contact with the victim were monitored and NONE of them contracted Ebola, apart from the original nurses who treated him before they realised he had Ebola. Again, this puts the risk in perspective.)

Should an Ebola outbreak occur in Tanzania or Kenya  as per above definition, you are entitled to cancel or postpone your trip at no charge, subject to the following conditions:

  1.  That there is a genuine and confirmed Ebola outbreak in Tanzania or Kenya or other adjacent destination on your itinerary as booked with Nature Bound Africa .
  2.  That a trip postponement is subject to availability for the new travel dates. Your trip can be postponed without penalty for up to 1 year from original date of travel.
  3.  That you have paid by credit card (this is advisable since most credit cards automatically also include basic travel insurance) since we will simply reverse the transaction on your credit card to process the refund. This avoids unnecessary foreign currency conversion fees and bank charges associated with refunds by bank transfer. If you have paid by bank transfer, we can still refund you but your refund amount will be subject to deduction of the applicable bank charges and foreign currency conversion fees.
  4.  All clients are required to take out comprehensive travel insurance, and should first claim from their travel insurance in case of an Ebola outbreak. This protects us in the highly unlikely event of an Ebola outbreak, because some third party suppliers may not have the same generous cancellation policy in place and will charge us cancellation fees. We will then refund whatever amount is not covered by your travel insurance.
  5.  That you understand a change in dates may result in a minor change in rates if third party rates have been increased, and fall in a new season or new year. Our own rates will not be affected (for up to 12 months) but third party suppliers such as accommodation providers may implement annual increases or seasonal (high and low season) rates that may affect your amended travel dates. Flight costs may also be subject to change.
  6.  Flights can only be covered by this agreement if you allow us to book refundable or amendable flight tickets for you. With most airlines, their cheapest ticket class is not refundable and allows no changes, so if we are asked to book any of your flights and you insist that we book you on the cheapest available flights, the cost of flights will be excluded from this refund offer. Our advice is that you book your own flights online and book the slightly more expensive airfares or ticket option, with more flexible booking terms and a full refund policy in place. Most airfares (even low cost airlines) also allow a cancellation insurance option at a small extra cost. If we book your flights and you opt not to take the cancellation insurance or more flexible ticket option, your flights will not be covered by this agreement.
  7.  This applies only to cancellations or postponements due to a confirmed Ebola outbreak in your travel destination as booked by Nature Bound Africa . For all other cancellations or postponements, our regular terms and conditions and standard cancellation policy will apply.

We hope this offer of a 100% refund will set your mind at ease, that you are not taking a financial risk by booking a trip to Africa during this time.

Why are you so confident? Isn’t Ebola very serious?

Yes and no. It is serious in three, small, West African countries called Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. In the rest of Africa, the risk of Ebola is not serious at all. Here is a summary of some points that will explain why we are so confident. If you have not read our previous blog posts or still have doubts about travelling to Tanzania or Kenya , these points will hopefully help to put things in perspective and ease any concerns you may have regarding Ebola:

  • Ebola is not airborne and does not spread very easily. The only people who get infected are those with direct contact with Ebola victims or bodies, such as direct family members or health care workers. You won’t get Ebola from someone on a plane – if someone has contagious Ebola they won’t even be on a plane. And simply being close to someone with Ebola will not spread the virus.
  • Tanzania or Kenya has been denying entry to all visitors from the three affected nations in West Africa, and actively screens all incoming passengers at all airports. The same is true for Uganda and Rwanda. This means it is highly unlikely that we will see Ebola cases entering East Africa.
  • At the time of writing, in over 10 months since the start of the outbreak (the first 5-6 months with no screening measures in place) absolutely no cases of Ebola have occurred in Tanzania or Kenya (nor anywhere else in Southern or East Africa). This shows how low the risk is and how exaggerated the media-generated fears have been.
  • Those countries that have had isolated cases of Ebola (usually imported cases of health workers returning from West Africa) have all successfully contained the virus and it is has not led to an outbreak of Ebola in any of these countries, including third world countries like Nigeria and Senegal, which are now completely Ebola free after successfully containing their few isolated cases.
  • In the first 10 months since the outbreak, 4500 deaths and 9000 cases of Ebola have been reported, almost exclusively in West Africa. This sounds like a lot, but during this same time, up to 40,000 Americans are estimated to have died from the common flu, and up to 500,000 people are estimated to have died from malaria worldwide. This is not to trivialise the deaths due to Ebola but puts the crisis and figures in perspective. Ebola remains a tiny, insignificant blib on the list of the world’s most serious diseases to worry about.
  • Geographically, cities like Miami, London, Paris, Lisbon, and many other European and American destinations are situated much closer to the center of the Ebola outbreak than Tanzania, Kenya or South Africa . Africa is not one country but a huge continent and the distances are massive. Nairobi, Kenya has one of the most modern airports in East Africa, with excellent screening and quarantine facilities. You will be thousands of miles from the nearest Ebola case, and there is no more risk of being infected with Ebola by travelling to East Africa as there is from travelling to Europe or the US.
  • With the world’s airports and health care systems on high alert now, the chances that this Ebola outbreak will spread to other countries (beyond isolated, imported cases as we have already seen in many countries and have all been contained) is virtually zero. Ebola is nothing new, it has been with us for many years and we have seen many previous outbreaks. It is much less serious than the bird flu epidemic we saw a few years ago, simply because it is not airborne, not very contagious and easy to prevent infection with even the most basic precautions.

Where is Ebola?

ebola map No cancellation fees for Ebola

May we also point out that most of the  Nature Bound Africa’s team happen to live in Tanzania or Kenya  with our families and we can honestly say that we have zero fear of contracting Ebola. Not because we are ignorant, but because we are informed. To date, EVERY SINGLE Ebola-related travel postponement or trip cancellation has been entirely pointless and an unfortunate waste, not just for us and the local tourism industry in terms of lost revenue, but for the travellers concerned, who have missed out on a fantastic trip, and may end up spending more money later on to do a similar trip (for example, the Shilling-USD exchange rate is very favourable for foreign tourists at the moment – Tanzania or Kenya  currently offers the best value for money that it has in many years).

In closing, our advice regarding Ebola is well-researched and based on WHO fact sheets, not media hype. We’ve had endorsements from healthcare experts with experience in infectious diseases and public health care in the UK as well as in Tanzania and Kenya . Don’t believe the media hype, and don’t let the fear of Ebola spoil your African adventure.

We look forward to welcoming you to safe, sunny, Ebola-free Tanzania or Kenya  for the safari of a lifetime!

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